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Lithuania buys $435mln-worth German combat vehicles

Lithuania buys $435mln-worth German combat vehicles

PanARMENIAN.Net - Lithuania on Monday, August 22 signed a deal for German-made armored vehicles intended to boost its defense capabilities, as it seeks to allay concerns of a military resurgence of Russia on its doorstep, AFP reports.

In its biggest-ever arms purchase, the Baltic NATO member will buy 88 Boxer armored fighting vehicles for 386 million euros ($435 million).

Produced by the German-Dutch ARTEC consortium, the vehicles are fitted with Israeli-made turrets.

"It's a long-term investment into national defense and also a signal that Lithuania takes its security and investing in it seriously," Defense Minister Juozas Olekas said after inking the deal.

The first vehicles are expected to arrive in Lithuania in 2017 and the rest by 2021.

The largest of the three Baltic states that broke free from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991, Lithuania has increased its defense budget by about a third each year since 2014 following the developments in Crimea.

Next year, the nation of three million has earmarked 725 million euros for defense, or 1.79 percent of economic output, AFP says.

Alarmed by the Russian annexation of Crimea and a series of war drills staged near its borders, it also reintroduced limited conscription last year.

Despite the efforts, Lithuania largely depends on its NATO partners to guarantee its security.

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